A money laundering case involving a former congressman represents a test for the ability of El Salvador's authorities to unravel the complex links between political elites and organized crime networks.

Former congressman Wilver Rivera Monge is on trial on money laundering charges alongside convicted drug trafficker Jorge Ernesto Ulloa Sibrián, alias "Repollo," and 26 other defendants suspected of hiding illicit profits connected to Ulloa Sibrián's cocaine trafficking operations, reported El Diario de Hoy

The money laundering charges were formally brought against Rivera Monge in September 2014. Prosecutors say that Rivera Monge and members of his immediate family laundered roughly $8 million US in drug profits. The allegations suggest Rivera Monge used $1 million US of these illicit profits to fund his 2012 campaign for Congress, reported La Prensa Grafica

Ulloa Sibrián was arrested in 2013 and ultimately sentenced to 77 years in prison in 2014 for his role in heading up a cocaine transport operation that spanned much of Central America, working in collaboration with the Texis Cartel and other drug trafficking cells in the region. Authorities say that Ulloa Sibrián's network was responsible for moving at least 16 tons of cocaine through Central America en route to the US. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Texis Cartel

Immediately after Ulloa Sibrián's arrest in 2013, El Salvador's security minister denied claims that any members of Congress had been implicated in the organized crime boss' trafficking network; a claim he later had to retract as evidence of Rivera Monge's involvement emerged. At the time of Ulloa Sibrián's arrest, Rivera Monge was already being held by authorities on suspicion of affiliation with the Texis Cartel.

InSight Crime Analysis

Rivera Monge's trial may set an important precedent for El Salvador's justice system and its ability to unravel webs of connection between powerful political elites and organized crime networks.

Ulloa Sibrián's conviction in 2014 was a rare victory against a powerful and politically well-connected drug trafficker for Salvadoran authorities. Given the size and duration of Ulloa Sibrián's operation, which dates back to 2000, there is reason to believe that he long operated with some degree of official protection

SEE ALSO:  El Salvador News and Profiles

Judges and prosecutors hesitant to bring charges against politically well-connected traffickers present systemic concerns for El Salvador's justice system.

Alleged high-level members of the Texis Cartel have proven particularly slippery in evading conviction in El Salvador's court system on charges ranging from car theft to money laundering

 

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

As Guatemala's Congress gears up to select new Supreme Court Justices and appellate court judges, InSight Crime is investigating how organized crime influences the selection process. This story details the interests of one particular political bloc vying for control over the courts and what's at stake: millions of ...

The Victory of the Urabeños - The New Face of Colombian Organized Crime

The Victory of the Urabeños - The New Face of Colombian Organized Crime

The mad scramble for criminal power in the aftermath of the demobilization of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) is over. The Urabeños, or as they prefer to call themselves, the "Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia," have won.

50 years of the FARC: War, Drugs and Revolution

50 years of the FARC: War, Drugs and Revolution

The possibility of ending nearly 50 years of civil conflict is in sight. While the vast majority of the Colombian public want to see peace, for themselves and especially for their children, the enemies of the peace negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the ...

Mexico’s Security Dilemma: Michoacan’s Militias

 Mexico’s Security Dilemma: Michoacan’s Militias

Well-armed vigilantes in Mexico's Michoacan state have helped authorities dismantle a powerful criminal organization, but now the government may have a more difficult task: keeping Michoacan safe from the vigilantes and rival criminal groups.

Uruguay, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

Uruguay, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

After the lower house passed the controversial marijuana bill July 31, Uruguay is poised to become the first country on the planet to regulate the production, sale, and distribution of the drug, and provide a model for countries looking for alternatives to the world’s dominant drug policy paradigm. ...

The Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

The Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

After the capture of Zetas boss "Z40," Nuevo Laredo is bracing itself for the worst. This investigation breaks down what makes the city such an important trafficking corridor, and what it will take for the Zetas to maintain their grip on the city.

El Salvador's Gang Truce: Positives And Negatives

El Salvador's Gang Truce: Positives And Negatives

Whether it is sustainable or not, the truce -- which the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and the Barrio 18 put into place March 2012 -- has changed the conventional thinking about who the gangs are and what is the best way to handle the most difficult law and order ...

FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

The possibility of ending nearly 50 years of civil conflict is in sight. While the vast majority of the Colombian public want to see peace, for themselves and especially for their children, the enemies of the peace negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the ...

Corruption in El Salvador: Politicians, Police and Transportistas

Corruption in El Salvador: Politicians, Police and Transportistas

Since the end of El Salvador's civil war, the country's police has become a key player in the underworld. This series of five articles explore the dark ties between criminal organizations and the government's foremost crime fighting institution.

Juarez after the War

Juarez after the War

As a bitter war between rival cartels grinds to an end, Ciudad Juarez has lost the title of world murder capital, and is moving towards something more like normality. InSight Crime looks at the role politicians, police, and for-hire street gangs played in the fighting -- asking who ...